Although speaking right is also important if you want to get ahead in business and in life, there are many reasons why writing is better than speaking.
Writing may be a lost art in some circles, but that doesn’t mean learning to write well is insignificant. Regardless of your chosen profession, chances are good that writing well is required of you on a regular basis.
Both writing and speaking well affect what others think about your level of intelligence, but that doesn’t mean these two skills can’t be improved. Once you learn how to speak and write well, you’ll soon discover that writing is sometimes more important than speaking. Below are a few of the reasons why.
Some of the Basics
When you write, you can make anything happen. You can create fictional stories, use any tense you want, and even defy the laws of physics if you want to. If you can think it up in your head, you can make it happen on paper, and that is nothing short of magical.
You can also hold tight to your thoughts. This is especially true when you write in a journal every day. Your thoughts will always be there for you to reflect on in later years. This means that goals, ideas, and even frustrations are there to look back on when you need to do so, which can be truly invaluable.
Writing is also a great emotional outlet. Can you vent frustrations verbally? Of course you can, but you do a much better job when those frustrations are in writing. Not only can you get more of these frustrations out, but you can be more descriptive in the process. You can even go on a rant about politics or religion when you write things down – something that can’t always be said for speaking.
You’re going to sound more organized when you put something in writing. The only way to sound that organized when you speak is if you’ve prepared for the speech beforehand. In that case, you’re likely going to refer to something you wrote down on paper first. Writing gives you time to sound organized, whereas speaking often doesn’t.
Writing creates beautiful memories. If you don’t believe it, think back on some of the hand-written letters you received back before technology came on the scene. They were incredible. When you speak, you don’t take the time to consider how important what you’re doing truly is. Writing allows you to take your time, enabling you to say what you really mean.
When you write, you need discipline, which is something that can’t always be said of speaking. You develop discipline the more you write, and it improves your writing over time. It is a challenge to just start writing and come up with anything valuable. You need to gather up and organize your thoughts first, which again, takes discipline.
Writing is a great permanent way to remember things. Despite the type of writing you’re participating in, you’ll have a permanent medium to go back and reread it whenever you like. How many times have you gone into “the clouds” and reread something you put there? If you’re like most people, you’ll reread something in writing much more often than your virtual writing.
When you write, you simply communicate your points a lot better than when you try to do so verbally. Even if you start writing without thinking about what you’d like to say, you can always go back later and rewrite that which doesn’t make sense. This isn’t true with speaking. Once your words come out of your mouth, they are there permanently. You can’t go back and unsay something.
Writing Versus Speaking 101
Unlike speaking, anyone can write. It may not feel like it, but you can write if you want to. If you need a little improvement, you can get it easily. Many people do not like speaking to groups, even groups of friends. This isn’t true of writing, because anyone can write. In fact, if you can read, you can write, so why not take advantage of that skill?
You are not “live” when you’re writing. When you speak, you have to think of it as a performance of some type. When you write, you are not performing for anyone, except maybe yourself. This means that speaking is often more difficult than writing, since writing can be done at your own pace every time.
Both writing and speaking can be improved by becoming better at the other one. If you speak well, you are naturally going to write better, and vice versa. Of course, you don’t have to speak if you don’t want to, but if you’d like to become better at speaking, you’d do well to improve your writing skills. You can also improve your writing skills by learning to speak well. Each one benefits the other.
It is better for idea development to write. When you write, you get to take your time and develop your ideas more broadly, which you cannot say for speaking. Ideas that are well-developed get your point across more effectively. You can’t always get your point across when speaking because there isn’t always enough time to truly develop your ideas.
When you write, you have created something permanent and durable. A simple an idea or suggestion on Twitter, Instagram, or even Facebook, it is going to stay there forever. Just because you say something out loud doesn’t mean people are going to remember it. That isn’t true for something that is written down, although this may be either a good or bad reason why writing is better than speaking!
On the same train of thought, you can always go back and improve something written if you need to revise, update, or edit what you wrote earlier. In other words, you can perfect something in writing much more effectively than something you’ve said, which in most cases isn’t even possible.
And what about proper grammar? Things that are written can be edited so that they are perfect when it comes to grammar, style, structure, and of course, spelling. Again, you cannot unsay something, and therefore your grammar is not always perfect when you speak. You can, however, make sure your writing is perfect before you release it to the public.
Speaking also leaves the oral word open to interpretation, which can vary with each audience member. Even the speaker’s accent or tone can affect the way the words are interpreted. When you write, you can make it clear exactly what you mean because you have the time to do so. Writing simply does a better job of removing those communication barriers so that it is easier to understand for everyone.
Writing is often more logical than speaking in its progression. It is more formal, and therefore you often do not need as many explanations or even digressions as you might when you speak. Writing, therefore, can be a lot easier to understand than speaking, even though the sentences you use may be more complex.
When you think about it, it is rare to find an individual who speaks perfect English. On the other hand, you can write in perfect English every time if you know what you’re doing. You can also write both formally and informally if you like, even if this isn’t something you normally do when you speak. Good English is just easier to accomplish when something is in written form.
Speech also changes much more frequently than the written word does. Colloquialisms and slang terms change almost yearly, whereas the written word changes much more slowly. This is good for writers, because it means once they write something, it will be easy to understand by most people for many years to come.
Writing is better for introverts than speaking is. Even if you’re simply speaking to friends at a small, informal party, it can be difficult for you if you’re an introvert. Writing, on the other hand, can make introverts come alive. You don’t have to feel comfortable around people to be a good writer. You only have to do so when you’re expected to speak to them.
Thanks to social media, knowing how to write is always going to be important. Written words have power, even if all you’re writing is a simple email or Twitter entry. Writing will never go out of style or become unnecessary, which is why keeping up with your writing skills will always be important in life. More and more things are being done online, so knowing how to write is crucial.
Writing is the perfect medium when you’re trying to communicate with a person who is non-verbal. Some people just don’t like to talk. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with one of these people, you know exactly what this means. Trying to speak to someone who doesn’t like to speak back can be like pulling teeth. Writing to that person, however, likely will get the job done.
A Little of This and That
One of the many differences between writing and speaking is that writing allows you to sound good even if your idea is plain and simple. Speaking isn’t like that. With speaking, especially speaking in public, you have to have an incredible idea to sound good. When you’re writing, you can make something sound good with the right words, even if the main idea isn’t all that exciting.
Speaking in public can also be more difficult because you have to keep the audience’s attention for a long period of time. This can be difficult to do. Keeping people entertained through your writing can be much easier thanks to wording things correctly and the number of expressions you can use. People get distracted easily, especially when listening to someone speak, but reading often doesn’t cause this distraction.
If you’re speaking to a group of people and forget to say something, chances are good you won’t be able to go back and say it to them later. This isn’t the case with writing. You can always go back and revise what you wrote and add to it before you submit it for publication or turn it into the teacher. This is a big plus when you’re trying to communicate something well.
Writing allows us to appreciate the moment. While we write, we are concentrating solely on the topic at hand. We then appreciate and revel in that topic, which cannot always be said of speaking. Writing therefore makes you feel alive while you’re writing about that topic. This is true whether you’re writing about a bird chirping or what happened at your party last night.
People have often changed the world with their writing. Unless a speech is written down later on, it cannot become a permanent part of the universe. This is not the case with writing. You can write something and become immortal through the writing. Again, words have power.
Once you write something, it is possible to have a lasting effect on the universe. Think of your favorite authors and where you’d be if you hadn’t heard of them. Not everyone will become famous being a writer, but your writing can still have a profound effect on people even after you’re gone.
Writing increases the amount of meaning in your life. Happiness and pleasure are important, but feeling like your life has true meaning is even better. Storytellers, whether professional or not, find much more purpose and meaning than the average person, thanks to their stories.
Writing can also increase others’ feelings of meaning. Whether one person or 1,000 people read what you write, they are always going to be affected by it. Nothing is better for a writer than to realize that his or her writing has produced more meaning in another person’s life. What you put on paper will affect everyone who reads it.
Of course, one of the main benefits of being a good writer is that the better you get at it, the more your speaking skills will improve. The way you write will become melded into the way you speak even if that isn’t something you’re trying to do. You’ll even find yourself repeating new words you’ve just learned from your writing every time you speak, and you will sound much smarter in the process.
Another area that proves writing is such a great skill as compared to speaking is that writing requires you to think in complete sentences. This isn’t always true with speaking, where you can trail off and quickly move onto other subjects without people noticing or caring. When you write, complete sentences and good grammar are a must, making it much more effective than speaking in many instances.
If you need to communicate something important, writing is always the best way to do it. Again, you can put more thought into writing something down as opposed to speaking it, which gives you time to write something in the most effective way. You can take your time and use the right tone, language, and phrases to express what you’re trying to communicate.
In addition to other reasons, writing is sometimes the only or best way to communicate to someone. After all, you can’t tell Santa what you want in person. You can’t tell a pen pal something in verbal terms. Let’s face it, some things are better written down than verbalized. After all, how else are you going to put “Will you marry me?” up on a billboard or the giant screen at the baseball game?
Things put in writing are also fancier and more memorable than words that are spoken aloud. Think of a beautiful set of stationary or the elegant wax stamp that you used to close your letter. Those things make an impression on people, and you can’t always say that for someone who has just spoken to you. More and more people are starting to appreciate these things, so never underestimate their power.
Writing something down also allows you to eliminate superfluous words and phrases, simply because you can go back and edit your writing before you submit it. When you speak, you are much more likely to inadvertently include unnecessary words in your speech. Writing things down can eliminate that concern, mainly because of the editing process.
There is also the physical look of words being on paper that makes a difference. Writers can use graphic effects that include headings, layout design, and even different colors to emphasize what they’re writing about. The same cannot be said for public speakers. Once the reader sees these things written on paper, they’ll understand what you’re trying to communicate to them immediately.
On the other hand, speakers can only rely on their tone of voice to emphasize what they’re trying to communicate to you. This can be difficult to do, but it is one of the reasons why writing is better than speaking in most instances.
There is another advantage to writing that many people overlook. When you have to include complex legal or medical terms, or even chemical or scientific equations, writing is a lot better. Think about it; how are you going to describe an equation or complicated medical term when you’re speaking? Writing leaves no room for mistakes when it comes to these things, which makes it perfect in certain situations.
You can also utilize something in writing a lot easier than a speech. Unless a speech has been put in written form, you cannot analyze or reread it, but you can do both of these things with something that is written. You can make notes, reread, and even scrutinize a written document, but the same cannot be said of something that is only available orally.
Writing is better for people who have less-than-perfect memories. You can revise and reedit a document at any point, but if you’re speaking and you forget something, you’re out of luck. Many people who are working on a written document will put it aside for a few days before they begin the editing process. This allows them the time to remember everything they want to include in the document, which is always beneficial.
Written words are generally taken more seriously than spoken words. Think about a performance review or official company memorandum. If someone were to verbalize everything in those documents, chances are you wouldn’t take it as seriously. Written words just seem more serious and important than those which are verbalized.
Yet another advantage of putting something in writing has to do with interruptions. If you are speaking to someone about anything, that person can be interrupted at any time. After the interruption, the train of thought might be disrupted and the conversation may never get back on track. When you’re reading something, that won’t matter, because you can get right back to reading even after an interruption.
Writing leaves less room for embarrassment. If you’re speaking, it is easy to get nervous and say something you didn’t mean to say, which could be very embarrassing. Writing eliminates that concern, because you can take your time writing until you get it just right.
A Few Final Words
There are numerous reasons why writing is better than speaking, and most of them have to do with time. When you’re speaking to a group, even a group of friends, you only have so much time to decide what to say. Writing solves that problem because you have the time to write, rewrite, and edit for as long as you like.
Writing is not spontaneous and therefore, you can work until the document says exactly what you want it to say. This isn’t true with speaking. Once you’ve spoken a word or phrase, it is out there and there’s nothing you can do about it. Writing allows you to utilize your organizational skills so that you can perfect your document before submitting it, allowing it to be perfect every time.
Of course, if you’re going to write you might as well take the time to write well. This is easier to do than you think, and it increases the likelihood that your writing will be remembered from now on.